Tips: Keep Road Trip Cost Low
- Have room in your car? Bring a friend. By splitting petrol, food and camping expenses, you can easily reduce the cost per person.
- Do your grocery shopping at home: Grocery stores are hard to come by near many holiday destinations, and are often expensive if you do find them. Pack as much food as you can before you leave, and only worry about perishables while on the road. Also, avoid eating out. Maybe a celebratory dinner the last night!
- Tyre Pressure: A quick stop at the petrol/fuel station enables us to fill up our car tires to the maximum recommended air pressure before we depart. Every one PSI on any one tire improves our fuel efficiency 1/8 of 1 percent.
You should make sure that your maintenance/service schedule is up to date on your vehicle, too. Doing this before you leave can make your car run a bit more efficiently, but it can also save you in terms of helping you avoid a disaster 100's of kilometres from home.
- Research each location in advance: Before we go anywhere on a road trip, I'll study resources like the AA or travel magazines to find unusual roadside attractions. If they're free, they can provide a nice rest and excuse to stretch our legs while showing us something interesting and unique without hitting our wallets. Stops like these break up a day wonderfully and turn a dull road trip into something much more interesting.
- Plan your fuelling: Know the petrol/fuel prices in each country/area. When you cross a border line, new petrol/fuel taxes come into effect, causing the average petrol price rates to either jump or fall (at least a little).
- Plan your trip to avoid toll roads: When you're travelling a long distance, toll roads can really eat up your cash. Use a GPS unit or a map planning program (like Google maps) to avoid toll roads entirely. This might add a slight amount of distance to your trip, but it can easily save you R300+ in tolls on a day's drive.
- Speed Limit: Keep within the speed limit as indicated or as road conditions allow, this will help you reduce transport expenses.
- When Towing: Make sure your trailer/caravan/ tyre pressure is correct for the load and the road conditions, and that the weight is distributed equally.
- Book lodging directly: If I can identify a camping resort I want to stay at using an online site, I'll then call the resort directly and ask for a cheaper rate.
- Campsites: Share campsites with friends/family (if allowed) to reduce cost per stand, especially over peak seasons.
- Take the local paper and tourism guides: Those always seem to provide an interesting free thing to do that day that we have not thought of. Many town and cities have a free local paper available, selection of guides and pamphlets of local events and attractions. This can normally be found at the information centre or at your resort in the lobby . I'll usually ask the front desk if they have any suggestions as well.